Have you ever heard the phrase, “If these walls could talk?”
The Sistine Chapel is one place where I think I’d like to hear the ceiling talk, too.
The artwork on both the walls and the ceiling of that magnificent chapel portrays several biblical narratives from Genesis to Revelation. Literally painted onto the wet plaster, these frescos are of exquisite beauty by a number of Renaissance-era artists, most famously Michelangelo.
Michelangelo’s ceiling panels, painted between 1508 and 1512, portray stories from Genesis: the creation of the world, the birth of Adam and Eve, their temptation, and disobedience of God’s command.
The walls of the chapel were painted earlier by such master painters as Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli. The southern wall predominantly tells the story of Moses; while the northern wall captures snapshots from Jesus’s life.
Finally, over the altar is where Michelangelo returned almost 30 years after he finished the ceiling to produce his spectacularLast Judgment, depicting some rising to heaven and some being dragged down to hell by devils.
The story is complete.
Today, the Sistine Chapel is recognized as one of the artistic wonders of the world. But it’s more than art. It’s the embodiment of the biblical story in a distinctly Renaissance form.